The initial critical reception to the album was positive, though sales were slim; Al Kooper's rave review of the LP in Rolling Stone helped to draw public attention to it (even though Rolling Stone referred to them as "the band from Big Pink" instead of just "the Band"). The fact that Bob Dylan wrote one and co-wrote two of the songs on the album also attracted attention.
In 1968, "The Weight" peaked at #63 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart in the US. The song was a bigger hit elsewhere, peaking at #35 in Canada, and #21 in the UK. The album peaked at #30 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000 (see 2000 in music). "The Weight" gained widespread popularity, from the Band's performance of it at Woodstock on 17 August 1969 and due partially to its inclusion in the film Easy Rider, though it was omitted from the soundtrack because of licensing issues. A cover version by the band Smith was included on the soundtrack album instead.
The original LP record issue included a gatefold cover in 1968, duplicated 40 years later in 2008 as a remastered 180 gm LP. On compact disc, it was remastered as a gold CD in 1989, as a DVD-audio in 2001 and as a remastered numbered edition SACD in 2009. On August 29, 2000, it was reissued by EMI Records as a standard compact disc with nine bonus tracks as listed below. In 2012, Mobile Fidelity released a remastered, numbered, limited edition, Half-speed_Mastering from the original master tapes, 180g LP pressed at RTI.
"Big Pink" is a pink house in West Saugerties, New York, located at 56 Parnassus Lane (formerly 2188 Stoll Road). The house was built by Ottmar Gramms, who bought the land in 1952. The house was newly built when Rick Danko found it as a rental. Danko moved in along with Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel in February of 1967, and it was in the basement of this house that Bob Dylan would join its residents and Robbie Robertson to write and record what came to be known as The Basement Tapes. The house became known locally as "Big Pink' for its pink siding. The house was sold by Gramms in 1977 to M. Amitin, who rented the house to Parnassus Records, a label specializing in classical music, which used the basement as its headquarters. In 1998, Amitin sold the house to Don and Sue LaSala, who maintain it as a private residence and keep the creative tradition alive by creating music in the basement with friends from the Woodstock area and beyond.